Work Visas - Immigration Guide

Immigrants from outside the U.S. need to obtain a work visa to legally work in the country. As the workforce is diverse, there are different types of visas that an individual can apply to gain or remain in gainful employment. These are available in five different categories based on the kind of work that the individual shall be doing. The five categories for employment-based immigrant visas are as follows: -

  1. E1 – priority workers and persons with extraordinary ability. Within this category, there are three groups which are: -
    1. Persons with extraordinary ability, for those who have recognised both nationally and internationally for the fields in which they work.
    2. Professors and researchers who are outstanding in their field and recognised internationally. They should have at least three years of experience in teaching or research.
    3. Managers and executives who work for multinationals, in a branch, overseas affiliate, subsidiary or parent company of a U.S. employer. They need to have held their positions for at least one year.
  2. E2 – professionals holding advanced degrees and persons of exceptional ability. These are an option once the applicant has received a job offer to work with a U.S. employer. Similar to the E1 U.S.A work visas, there are two subgroups which are: -
    1. Professionals holding a postgraduate degree, or those with a baccalaureate degree as well as five years of progressive
    2. Persons with exceptional ability in business, arts or sciences. This ability needs to be above the ordinary.
  3. E3 – Skilled workers, professionals and unskilled workers. Applicants for this visa need to have a labor certification that is approved by the department of labor. Three subgroups for the E3 work visas include: -
    1. Skilled workers should have at least two years of training or work experience in jobs that are not seasonal.
    2. Unskilled workers who can work in a position where at least two years of training and work experience are not necessary.
    3. Professionals who have at minimum a baccalaureate degree from a university or college in the U.S., or a foreign equivalent degree.
  4. E4 – Certain special immigrants. These work visas under U.S. immigration laws include a total of 19 subgroups and cater to those who do not fit into the E1 – E3 work visas. Here, labor certification is not necessarily required.
With an understanding of these five categories, the next step a person needs to go through is applying. To begin with, the prospective employer or agent of the applicant needs to get labor certification approval. The Department of Labor issues this. Upon receiving this approval, the employer then needs to file for an Immigration Petition for Alien Worker. This filing happens through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. There are some instances where the above U.S. work visas and eligibility requirements do not apply for certain workers. In these cases, temporary work visas are the other choice. These fall into the following categories: -
  1. H1 – Non-Immigrant visas for foreign workers who are based temporarily with a specific employer in the U.S. Skilled and educated employees who have a specialised occupation can receive these visas.
  2. H2 – Non-Agricultural visas for foreign workers who are filling in for positions where the number of domestic workers is insufficient. They include a range of non-agricultural fields, particularly in the tourism sector.
Before making an application for any work visa, it is essential to get guidance from the potential employer so as that the right visa application is submitted.